I am overwhelmed by the generous response The Pittsburgh Chapter of DFG received when we put out a call for help on the Lebanon Emergency Response Project. Carrie and Constance (co-leaders) put in a tremendous effort to make this project come together.
For our team, being part of the Lebanon Emergency Response Project meant that we got to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We felt more connected to other teams/chapters than we had previously. Many chapter leaders popped into our zoom meetings, many more drove components to our Third Presbyterian Church, each of these socially distant meetings were heartwarming. Meeting with other Daisies helped to strengthen our commitment because we were not in this alone. There was a sense that in the midst of a pandemic, social unrest, economic uncertainty, we are still able to do our small part to make the world a better place. The Pittsburgh Chapter had to think creatively about how we connect to our volunteers. Only our three co leaders were allowed in our space, so we worked hard to make others feel included and connected. Sometimes that meant pausing the work to take pictures, post to social media, say hello to friends on zoom, listen to someone over speaker phone, and while all of those connections paused our packing, it increased our impact. I am inspired by the generosity and creativity of the Pittsburgh Chapter and the Pittsburgh North Team, other supporting teams/chapters, particularly the Grove City Team, Third Presbyterian Church, our amazing community of volunteers, social media followers, college students, friends, and neighbors. Our web or connection is larger and stronger than I ever thought possible, and more beautiful each day.
For me personally, Days for Girls (and the Lebanon Emergency Response Project) helped shape my call to be the Period Pastor. I feel called to be a Presbyterian voice that respects, supports, empowers, and celebrates women. I hope to live out my faith with service, social justice, and prayer. I believe in creating a world that is feminist, anti-racist, LGBTQIA+ affirming, were all people feel loved by God and each other. With each DFG kit that I pack, I know that I am giving a menstruator dignity, education, independence and the opportunity to live out their sense of call.
These are the other posts about this project: Lebanon Emergency Response Project with Days for Girls, Lebanon Emergency Response Project Update, Lebanon Emergency Response Project Second Update
Now the big news:
The generosity our chapter experienced was not an anomaly for the DFG community. In fact, we completed over double the 9,000 kit goal to be sent to Lebanon. The shipping company simply could not accommodate taking all of the extra kits Lebanon, so a new home would need to be found.
Days for Girls is committed to reaching those in need, especially now. I admire many attributes of the DFG model. They make efforts to get kits where they are needed most. They insist that local leaders are involved. Watch the Days for Girls Video from International Chapters Director Leyla Isin-Xiong who takes us on a deep dive into the DfG Impact Zones and shares the important “why” behind their model.
DFG worked to find a location that would be able to accept and distribute these kits according to their standards. Luckily, a “blue zone” or an area that will accept kits from outside of the country (watch the video linked above for more details) was found.
If you would like to continue to support the on-going work:
Make a monetary donation to The Pittsburgh Chapter or to Days for Girls International or purchase needed materials from amazon wish list or a JoAnn Fabric Gift Card, and arrange for a safe drop off. Wish list items can be shipped directly to Third Church.
We only pulled our masks down for the brief moment we took this picture. In the picture I’m holding a bag of Honduran coffee. The coffee is delicious. Allen Sower of Sowers4Pastors is taking the kits along with other items to Honduras. You may also notice the kits aren’t on pallets anymore in order to fit them with the other items (and because Allen’s rental truck can’t accommodate a pallet jack). It was fun to meet the people who will be taking the kits and distributing them. Allan works with locals (who have also done the AWH training and already has Spanish and English flip charts. The local women will be doing the education that will happen with the kit distribution. He works with local pastors to get items to the people who need them. It’s important to note that pastors in Honduras are not filling the same job as most pastors in the US do. For example, I refer people in need to other nonprofit organizations that my church supports. We rely on those organizations to do a lot of the work Honduran pastors must do, feed the hungry and care for the sick. Allan is committed to helping everyone, not just the “church people”, everyone can benefit from the programs they run.
I mention this story for a few reasons: 1. Some of my social media followers already noticed that in the picture I’m holding coffee and the kits aren’t on pallets. 2. It’s important to remember that not everything goes according to plan, but that doesn’t mean the project was not a success. In fact, it means that we experienced generosity on a level we could not have anticipated. So, we should celebrate that generosity! 3. I continue to be inspired by the DFG International team, (especially Katy Jones who coordinated with me throughout this process) who when presented with the challenge that all of the kits donated would not be able to be shipped to Lebanon, pivoted and found other “blue” areas that desperately need the kits too. And found people who would take them and distribute them in a way that honors how DFG empowers local leaders. Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.